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What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Bethel AK area and across Alaska, you'll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is right for you. That's why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the Program's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Bethel AK physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Bethel AK area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Bethel AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Bethel health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Bethel AK home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bethel AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

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